World War I

Schreiber, Otto, 1868-1917: victim of the war “for liberty and democracy”

Letter from Schreiber to Landauer

A short biography of German anarchist Otto Schreiber, who was active in London for many years.

Otto Franz Schreiber was born on 20th January 1868 in Germany. He seems to have made his way to London sometime in the1880s where he worked as a tailor. He was an active member of the Communistische ArbeitersBildungVerein (Communist Workers Education League) founded in London in 1840 to which many exiled members of the Communist League, including Marx himself, had belonged.

The Anzac Myth- Joseph Toscano

Anti Conscription cartoon

A piece which explores Wobbly activity against conscription during WWI.

Why Blackadder Goes Forth could have been a lot funnier

A fascinating look at Tommy Atkins' hidden tactics to avoid combat on the western front in World War I, or why ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ could have been a lot funnier (and more subversive)…

A young Army, but the finest we have ever marshalled; improvised at the sound of the cannonade, every man a volunteer, inspired not only by love of country but by a widespread conviction that human freedom was challenged by military and Imperial tyranny, they grudged no sacrifice however unfruitful and shrank from no ordeal however destructive...

Reds and Wobblies: working-class radicalism and the state in New Zealand 1915-1925

Talk presented at the National Library of New Zealand, 22 October 2013, by Jared Davidson about New Zealand's radical history. More images are available here.

In July this year, political commentator Bryce Edwards led a NZ Herald article with the following quote: “Multiple spying scandals and sagas show that New Zealand is suffering from a democratic deficit.” He was, of course, talking about the Kim Dotcom, GCSB and Defence Force surveillance sagas.

The guns of August - Barbara W. Tuchman

In this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world.

Beginning with the funeral of Edward VII, Tuchman traces each step that led to the inevitable clash. And inevitable it was, with all sides plotting their war for a generation. Dizzyingly comprehensive and spectacularly portrayed with her famous talent for evoking the characters of the war’s key players.

Failure of a revolution: Germany 1918-1919 - Sebastian Haffner

Two separate events in Europe, the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917 followed the next year by the collapse of Germany helped to create a political vacuum.

It is in this context that Haffner examines the intricate relationships between the German Social Democratic Party, the military, and the Prussian Junkers. He draws a distinction between the Social Democrats and the Spartacus Union (which was later to become the Communist Party of Germany) and both their roles in the outright civil war that went on during the first half of 1919.

All quiet on the western front - Erich Maria Remarque

Paul Bäumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I.

Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches.

A world undone: The story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918 - G.J. Meyer

The First World War is one of history's greatest tragedies.

In this remarkable and intimate account, author G. J. Meyer draws on exhaustive research to bring to life the story of how the Great War reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed twenty million people, and cracked the foundations of the world we live in today.

To end all wars: A story of loyalty and rebellion, 1914-1918 - Adam Hochschild

World War I stands as one of history’s most senseless spasms of carnage, defying rational explanation.

In a riveting, suspenseful narrative with haunting echoes for our own time, Adam Hochschild brings it to life as never before. He focuses on the long-ignored moral drama of the war’s critics, alongside its generals and heroes.

The Good Soldier Švejk - Jaroslav Hašek

Satirical anti-war novel in which the absurdity and hypocrisy of the military, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the church are repeatedly revealed through the main character's enthusiasm for obeying authority.